Girl Meets Bulgaria

Musings of an American expat in Bulgaria (with detours in Utah and Alaska)


Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving cheer distributed for men in service. New York City turned host to the boys in service today and cared for every man in uniform. Underwood and Underwood: ca. 1918

Today Vince and I are celebrating Thanksgiving at sea. We are somewhere between Italy and Greece, soakin’ up the Mediterranean sun.

Well, I’m thinking about celebrating Thanksgiving. Vince doesn’t have a clue what the holiday is (yet), so he’s just providing moral support.

This is the first Thanksgiving that I have ever spent away from my family back home in Utah.


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Adjusting to the Wife Life

Vince and I have been married for over a year now. In that year, we’ve only been together for about 3 months, and those months were spent living with his parents in Smolyan.

Sounds romantic, doesn’t it! 😉

Sure, it was nice having my Mother-In-Law around to make delicious meals and do most of the cleaning, but it left me feeling less a wife and more a live-in child.

One of the biggest reasons we decided to move to Sofia was so that we could have our own space and finally live together as a proper married couple (the next biggest reason being better weekend travel opportunities–what can I say, I’m addicted). I’ve been in the city for less than 48-hours, but already I am loving our little apartment and all the things that come along with being a wife–who at the moment, stays home.

Sounds completely cheesy, I know.

I’m reveling in housewife-y duties because I have waited so long to do them. I’ve never lived on my own away from home apart from my small dorm-style rooms in Alaska, so having a space that is all my responsibility is rather exciting.

I may be a strong-willed and progressive female, but that doesn’t mean I can’t have a nice dinner on the table when my husband gets home from work (at least every now and then!).

I didn’t have much else to do on Thursday besides wait on my luggage, so I decided to raid our rather bare cupboards and make dinner before Vince came home.

We are putting off grocery shopping because we’ll be out of town all weekend and then gone on our cruise for 2 weeks starting next weekend. No use letting a bunch of food go to waste.

Here’s what I decided on:

Glorified Ramen noodles…

Glorfied Ramen
This screams ‘bachelor pad’ grub, don’t you think? Vince is rather cheap frugal, so inexpensive, pre-packaged, and processed stuff like this is right up his alley. He eats lots of fresh foods as well, thank goodness. Bulgarian

I can’t read a lick of Bulgarian, but I can follow pictures like a champ! I gathered from these instructions that I was supposed to chop the veggies (I used a frozen mixed bag), cook the chicken, add the veggies, add the seasoning packet, and add 300ml of water.

I assumed that once all that was boiling I was supposed to add the noodles.

Easy enough.

The pan I used was a bit too shallow, but I added the dried noodles anyway and it turned out fine.

I had the table set, cheese and salami cut, and the wine ready to go when Vince walked in the door.

I felt rather proud of myself and he seemed happy, so there you go!

Ventsi and the spread

There it is…my very first dinner cooked in our new apartment. Not the most glamorous or gourmet meal ever, but it was yummy all the same!

I can’t wait to try out new recipes and become more adventurous in the kitchen.

Here’s to finally feeling like a grown up!


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Can I Just Forget Today Ever Happened?

Just wanted to let everyone know that I made it to Sofia {barely}.

Whether my sanity is intact is yet to be determined.

I am giving today a big ol’ F-U and trying to forget it ever happened. It sure would be easier to do that if the airlines hadn’t lost my luggage and I didn’t have to wear my husbands underwear to bed… Yeah. Baby Gap sized (hubs is quite thin) boxer briefs on a chubby gal are quite the site to behold.

All the gory details tomorrow.

Night ya’ll.


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In case you couldn’t tell from my last few posts, I have left my beloved Alaska and ventured back to my home state of Utah.

I made a brief (and super stressful) stop in Los Angeles for one night to visit the Bulgarian Consulate to apply for my long-stay visa (detailed post to come).

I cannot believe how fast the summer went by. Denali, as always, was a blur of fun times, stress, and craziness; and I am sure going to miss it.

I’ll be slummin’ it at my mom’s house (sleeping on an air mattress in my bedroom) for the next month before jet setting back to Bulgaria.

A certain handsome Bulgarian man is eagerly awaiting my arrival, and I his amazing hugs and sweet smell.

In other news..

Lately I have been:

Watching: You name it. After nearly 5 months of little to no internet (which meant no Hulu, YouTube, etc.), I am more than catching up on my fair share of mindless entertainment. I only have a short time to watch everything before going back to Bulgaria, land of crappy website access. Specific favorites include New Girl (love me some Zooey Deschanel), The Office (it’s the last season, *tear*), House Hunters International (did I ever mention that I was contacted by the casting director for this show about Vince and I doing an episode? HA! All I could do was laugh and politely decline. As much as I love watching the show, I am not the type to be on the show) , and of course, hours of beauty gurus, music videos, and vlogs on ‘The Tube’ (YouTube).

Listening to: Similar to my round-the-clock catch-up on TV and the internet, I have also been listening to music like crazy. It’s awesome having Spotify back regularly. A few specific artists/bands that I have been enjoying lately are Mumford and Sons (sorry if you are tired of hearing me talk about them!), Foster the People, The Decemberists, Bon Iver, Of Monsters and Men, and Augustana. I’m working on another ‘On Rotation’ post, so stay tuned for that!

Eating: I actually haven’t gone as nuts as I thought I would in the food department since being back in UT. That will likely change as my departure to Bulgaria gets closer. As much as I adore Bulgarian food, there are just some things from home that I dearly miss when I am away.

Wishing: OK, it’s more like PRAYING that my long-stay Bulgarian visa arrives before my flight in November. I think I may have booked my departure date too soon. The consulate said the visa will take about 30 business days; my flight is on the 31st business day. Holy. Schnikies. Please send good vibes my way! Paying to change my flight is the last thing that I need right now!

Anticipating: AH! SO many things! I am really anticipating getting back to Bulgaria and my hubs, of course. I am also extremely excited for my upcoming travels (a post coming soon), living and adventuring in Sofia, my 27th birthday, my first Christmas abroad, my MIL’s cooking, and making new friends (on that note, if you live in Sofia, or anywhere in BG for that matter, please send me an email–I’d love to meet up!)

Well. That’s all for now, folks!

As always, thanks for stopping by my little corner of the blogosphere.


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My Guest Post on Quest Bulgaria

I have some exciting news!

Quest Bulgaria, an English language online magazine here in Bulgaria, asked me to do a guest piece on their website.

Well, it’s up and I wanted to share the news with you all!

I am so flattered that they asked me to write something for them, and I hope you all enjoy it (though if you are a regular reader, you likely know most of the information already).

Take some time to check out the website; they have lots of other great expat interviews, recipes, travel articles, and more.

I am working on another couple of guest posts for some other bloggers and I will let you all know when those go up!



Top 25 Best and Worst Things About Being An Expat

Brokerfish (an expat medical insurance broker) posted links on their Twitter feed yesterday to two lists I found worthy of mentioning here on GMB:

Now, I’ve only been an expat for a few weeks now, but lots of the things on both lists apply to me.

I really think the lists warrant a few minutes of your time; especially if you, like me, are an expat (but I still think you will find them interesting, even if you are not).

They really give some insight into both the good and bad that come with packing up your life and moving overseas.

One recommendation: read the “best” list before the”worst.”

All the amazing perks of being an expat really make the not-so-amazing things seem a little less important.

I’d love to hear what you think.


*I have no affiliation with Brokerfish. I came across the links to their blog on Twitter. Just wanted to give credit where credit is due.


One Week

I spent last night at my aunt and uncles house so that I could babysit my cousin bright and early this morning (remember the days of Christmas vacation? Good times.)

We’re best buds, Annie and I.

Between my world travels and working/living in Alaska, she has gotten used to me leaving for long periods of time.

But when I told her today I was leaving for Bulgaria in a week, her usually smiley face suddenly had a case of the frowns.

(verses of “Cheer up Charlie” are dancing through my head)

Then, as with all little kids and their non-existent attention spans, I distracted her with something or other and she was fine again.

I’m not fine, though. Far from it.

Leaving family and friends behind when one chooses the expat life is par for the course (though still not an easy thing to do). However, leaving behind children, at least in my opinion, is much harder.

Kids just grow and change so fast. I think of all the things I will miss: losing a tooth, her first day of school, holidays, etc., and I see already how hard expat life must be sometimes.

Not only do we face challenges in our new homes and lives, but we also have to face the absence of those closest to us, those who give us comfort and make us smile.

I am so thankful for webcams and cheap international phone minutes, let me tell you.

My mantra is to just make the best of the situation I am in and everything will work out in the end.

Enjoying the ride. That’s what it is all about.

No more pity parties.

Well, for tonight anyway.

Now I am off for sushi with some old friends. Gotta soak in as much social time as I can during the next week!


P.S. A BIG thanks to all those who left such lovely comments on my last post. I never imagined I would be “Freshly Pressed,” but I have to say, it’s been amazing. Lots of new subscribers. I hope you all stick around, things are about to get much more interesting!